Developing a national security strategy addressing U.S. Russian relations should be the number one priority of the National Security Council. Collapse of the Soviet Union did more than remove U.S. public and governmental consensus regarding the existence of a threat to our vital interests. It has reopened the debate as to what our national interests should be on a global basis. in the absence of a grand security strategy, we will be forced to deal with international events on a regional or state case-by-case basis. Although this may prove satisfactory on a short term basis, it will prove inefficient in marshaling full U.S. power (military, economic, and political) to achieve our objectives. it also increases the probability of the U.S. pursuing policies counterproductive to other objectives in the area. Finally, piecemeal pursuit of U.S. interests increases the likelihood of sending mixed signals to the global community. Why should our relations with Russia be the National Security Council's number one priority? Perhaps the most persuasive reason is that it affords us a unique opportunity to totally restructure our thinking regarding U.S. international interests, objectives, and policy. Additionally, some analysts argue Russia remains the only country capable of threatening the vital interests of the U.S. Missing in this argument, however, is an analysis of the combat effectiveness of the remaining Russian forces. Recent retreat of the Ex-Soviet surface fleet to local waters, the number of ships tied up at pier, reductions in the procurement of weapons systems, and dismal economic conditions indicate declining combat effectiveness both now and in the future.